California at the Marciano

Liz Larner, i (calefaction), 2014-15
The Marciano Art Foundation is the city's most contemporary not-quite-a-museum. The current top-floor installation, "California Artists in the Marciano Collection," presents 30 well-known artists, but the works offer more than names ticked off a shopping list. An instant fave is a ceramic wall sculpture by Liz Larner, i (calefaction). The form is poised between skateboard deck, surfboard, and coffee table. The mineral-disrupted surface makes a numinous "painting."
Installation view, with Evan Holloway's Wheeled Triangle, 2014
The Marciano mostly shows art created this decade (though in this case Barbara Kruger and Ed Ruscha offer the historical gravitas of the 1980s). Artists include John Baldessari, Sadie Barnette, Walead Beshty, Thomas Demand, Kristen Everberg, Charles Gaines, Mark Grotjahn, Elliott Hundley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, Charles Ray, Sterling Ruby, Analia Saban, Kaari Upson, and Jonas Wood. Catherine Opie commands an adjacent gallery (Liz Taylor gewgaws and platinum-print freeways). A hallway shows works by German-born Neoromantic Friedrich Kunath.
Ed Ruscha, Lost Empires Living Tribes, 1984
Paul McCarthy, Chocolate Silicone Block Head, 1999-2000. Background at right is part of Mimi Lauter's multi-piece pastel mural, Sensus Oxynation (Moonrise), 2017
Mark Bradford, Building "The Big White Whale", 2012
Paul Sietsema, Black Painting, 2017
To create Black Painting, Paul Seitsema pooled black paint over a black landline phone, photographed it, and then did a trompe l'oeil painting of the photograph.
Works by Mike Kelley
Friedrich Kunath, Hermes Gypsy (after Jéróme Coudray), 2012
Sadie Barnette, installation of untitled 2018 works
Kaari Upson, Angelina 11:25 am, 2014
One ongoing problem with the Marciano's top floor space is reflections. Actual trees are reflected on Charles Gaines Numbers and Trees (2014), a conceit that is not so charming as it may sound. Glazed and glossy works installed in the two outfacing corridors are almost impossible to see properly.
Charles Gaines, Numbers and Trees XI, #4, Krista, 2014